Wilson 13-inch Terrestrial Globe

The cartouche reads “WILSON’S / NEW AMERICAN THIRTEEN INCH / TERRESTRIAL GLOBE / Exhibiting with the greatest possible Accuracy, / THE POSITIONS OF THE PRINCIPAL KNOWN / PLACES OF THE EARTH; / WITH the Tracks of various Circumnavigators together with / New Discoveries and Political Alterations down to / THE present PERIOD: 1835 / By CYRUS LANCASTER / 1835 / ALBANY, N.Y. / S. Wood & Sons Agents N. York.” It also reads: “D.W. Wilson dd.” and “Balch, Rawdon & Co. fet.” An allegorical image shows a woman (Columbia) holding dividers and a globe marked “AMERICA,” and an eagle holding a banner marked “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
This globe is supported on a 4-leg wooden base, and provided with a wooden horizon circle and a brass meridian.
James Wilson (1763-1855) was America’s first commercial globe maker. He was self-taught in geography and the techniques of engraving, but his globes were accurate, beautiful, and a commercial success. Wilson made his first globes in Vermont around 1810, and established an “artificial globe manufactory” in Albany in 1818. His son, David W. Wilson, drew the maps for these later globes. The firm of Balch, Rawdon & Co. printed the maps. Cyrus Lancaster joined Wilson’s firm in 1826, took charge of the business after the death of Wilson’s sons in 1833, and introduced this version of the 13-inch terrestrial globe soon thereafter.
Ref: D. J. Warner, “The Geography of Heaven and Earth,” Rittenhouse 2 (1999): 135-137.
Currently not on view
Object Name
globe, terrestrial
date made
ca 1835
Lancaster, Cyrus
overall: 18 1/2 in x 18 in; 46.99 cm x 45.72 cm
place made
United States: New York, Albany
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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